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No Movement On LGBT Bills In Congress Expected Until 2013. And The HRC Isn’t Helping

The 112th Congress has a few months left before the August recess and word is coming forth that any chances for advancing any pro-LGBT legislation even in the Democratic-controlled Senate are slim to none at least before Election Day or perhaps until the new Congress sits in 2013.

ENDA, which would bar job discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace, the DPBO bill, which would extend health and pension benefits to partners of federal workers, and the RMA, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, were all reported out of their respective committees and can move on. But a senate aide, speaking on condition of anonymity to Chris Johnson of Metro Weekly said it was unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid  would schedule time for votes on any of these bills before Election Day.

And whats the HRC’s  reaction to this news?

Well according to HRC spokesperson Michael Cole-Schwartz, excuses.  “Obviously the calendar is tight with only seven legislative weeks between now and the election,” Cole-Schwartz said. “Further, as summer rolls on, it begins to get harder and harder to get much done on Capitol Hill.”

That my friends is our leading Gay Civil Rights Organization speaking.

Well here’s a newsflash Cole-Schwartz and the HRC.

Congress is always busy and the schedule will always be tight.

For the HRC to be making excuses for Congress insinuating that there are more important bills than our “civil rights” is nothing short of APPALLING.  (Especially after Congress just passed Bills that would allow musical instruments on planes and allow the FDA to regulate smart phone apps.  Guess they are more important huh?)

We need to face some facts here.  Not only is HRC not pushing Congress on our big-ticket items like ENDA which would cover every LGBT individual in the United States and bring our civil rights up on par with those of groups covered under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Some Democrats themselves are afraid to put their names on these Bills in fear of being voted out of Congress by conservative voters in their districts that wouldn’t vote for them anyway.  Case in point the 132 House Democrats who filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that DOMA is unconstitutional.  60 House Democrats DID NOT sign it..  Many of which are up for re-election this year.  And with Congressional elections every 2 years that makes it all the harder because there will always be those who are afraid to sign on for fear of losing their jobs.  Because their jobs and political power is more important than the civil rights of people in this country.

We have a President that won’t use his bully pulpit or his Executive Power.  Democrats in Congress who are in fear of doing the right thing because they are afraid they will be voted out.  The DNC which won’t add same-sex marriage much less than FULL LGBT Equality plank to its platform and our leading LGBT political advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign is either too lazy, too gullible, or just too stupid to push with all the political power and money that our community has given them to get our equality goals met.

If we don’t as a community stand up and do something and do it soon we are forever dommed to be last on the list and our rights hanging in limbo until that perfect moment that might not ever arrive.  (Well actually it did arrive once.  HRC blew it then too)

To put it bluntly the HRC needs to grow some balls, earn thier salaries and step up.  And we need to step up and hold them both the HRC and Democrats who are too afraid to do whats right accountable for the failures and misteps that have happened and push them both to do their jobs.

And if they can’t or won’t we should not hesitate replace any of them with those who can and will.

End of rant.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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